E-trust standard needed



Online fraud using credit cards has reached the stage where is now begun to outstrip offline fraud. Indeed, one large UK corporate recently suggested that...



Online fraud using credit cards has reached the stage where is now begun to outstrip offline fraud. Indeed, one large UK corporate recently suggested that it could even account for more than 90% of all credit card fraud.

No surprise then, that Visa in the US has just announced 10 "commandments" for online merchants to safeguard cardholders' information. These demand that merchants install a firewall, keep security patches up-to-date, encrypt stored and transmitted data, use and regularly update antivirus software and restrict employee access to sensitive data on a need-to-know basis.

Such initiatives are clearly necessary. But in the week that yet another UK "trust" scheme was launched - this time by KPMG with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, supposedly to provide unaudited independent professional certification of e-commerce Web sites - there remains a crying need for some sort of co-ordination.

Heavyweight companies like British Airways have already made the point publicly that co-ordinated action must be taken over credit card fraud if consumer confidence in using the Net is to be guaranteed.

Their call must energise a whole string of organisations - the OECD, governments and the banks - to sit down, isolate the worthy initiatives from the worthless ones, and create the right environment for commerce to thrive. So far, there have been too many initiatives, and not enough initiative.

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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